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More Avios flight booking quirks …. confusion over Gold Priority Reward pricing

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I wrote a piece yesterday covering the confusion that is occuring when readers try to book a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher trip by adding a return flight to an existing one-way booking.

This isn’t the only bit of Avios booking confusion at the moment.

There is also confusion at the British Airways call centre over Gold Priority Rewards.

Booking a Gold Priority Reward

What is a Gold Priority Reward?

Very simply, a British Airways Gold member can book a seat on ANY BA flight using Avios.  The catch is that you have to use DOUBLE the normal amount.

You cannot use an American Express 2-4-1 voucher.  You cannot book on BA CityFlyer services from London City Airport.  Your flight must be booked more than 30 days before departure.

There is some further information on the BA Gold benefits page here.

These rewards are poor value for long haul – how does 240,000 Avios + £550ish of tax for a return to Dubai in Club World sound?  For short-haul European bookings, these rewards have some use.  Let’s take our standard run to Hamburg to visit the parents in law.

A standard Avios reward ticket on a peak day is 9,000 Avios + £35 taxes

A ‘Priority Reward’ would cost me 18,000 Avios + £35 taxes

Let’s look at the costs here.  If a flight has no Avios availability, it is likely to be a busy flight.  This means that the cash price is also likely to be higher than average.  Let’s assume we are heading to Heathrow from school on a Friday afternoon and need to be on a particular service.

Assume £175 return to Hamburg for cash in Economy, Friday night to Sunday night, booked six weeks in advance.  Knock off the £35 Reward Flight Saver tax charge and I am saving £140 for using 18,000 Avios points.

This is not the greatest use of Avios by any means – we are looking at 0.78p per point.. However, I am locking in a hard cash saving and I get to travel on the exact flights I want, with flexibility to cancel if a last minute birthday party invite comes in.  0.78p per point is also not a terrible deal.

Importantly, I also can cancel the BA ‘Gold Priority Reward’ and switch to a normal reward at any point as long as seats open up.

The best use of Gold Priority Rewards flights is for ski resorts at February half term.  British Airways likes to push up economy tickets to £500 if you want Saturday to Saturday – which is what the hotels often insist on – and this is an excellent way to avoid that.  It arguably justifies a push for a Gold card on its own if you are getting close.

British Airways Gold Priority Reward

But things have changed …..

As we have covered extensively on Head for Points over the Summer, British Airways is currently trialling a new structure for short-haul Avios pricing.

As well as the standard option (9,000 Avios + £35 to Hamburg) you are now offered a series of options requiring as little as £1 in charges.  This is what Hamburg shows on for a peak day:

16,000 Avios + £1
12,500 Avios + £21
9,000 Avios + £31
6,600 Avios + £71
5,600 Avios + £81
5,000 Avios + £91

You’ll note that the ‘original’ price of 9,000 Avios + £35 is not available.

How should a Gold Priority Reward be priced?

This is the million dollar question.

If you try to book a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 redemption on short-haul, you pay the ‘old’ price.  In the case of Hamburg above, this would mean 9,000 Avios + £35 for ticket one and 0 Avios + £35 for ticket two.

The issue comes when trying to book a Gold Priority Reward.

You are paying ‘double Avios’.  But ‘double’ what?

When I booked one on Monday, I paid what I expected to pay.  18,000 Avios (2 x 9,000 Avios) + £35.  This wasn’t the Avios bargain of my life but it was reasonable versus the cash cost.

Reports from other HfP readers, however, suggest that you are often asked to pay double the lowest the cost option above.  This is crazy.  In the example above, I would have been asked to pay 32,000 Avios (2 x 16,000 Avios) + £1 for an economy trip to Hamburg.  Given that you need to book a Gold Priority Reward 30 days in advance, you will rarely find dates where 32,000 Avios + £1 made sense.

Other reader reports suggest that agents are confused over what to charge but, after discussion with supervisors, charge the ‘old’ rate of 9,000 Avios (x 2) + £35.

So …. if you are booking a Gold Priority Reward on short-haul, make sure that you pay the correct amountYou can find the ‘old’ price in this HFP article listing the cost of all Avios reward flights, route by route and class by class.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (57)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alan says:

    Agree from London GPR are decent value on short haul, however from elsewhere in the UK the cost is double that due to BA charging Avios on connections for short haul too. That means 36k Avios + £70 for return economy (assuming they can’t manage to mix GPR and standard redemption for different legs in one booking, which I would have thought unlikely), which would be approx £350 cost.

  • Scottydoggiom says:

    Is there a cheaper way of phone BA to make a rewards booking ?
    Last time it cost me about £16 to phone their premium line !

    • Peter K says:

      Skype seems popular on here.

      • Crafty says:

        Or Vyke. I spent over £100 on Vodafone in frantic calls to India once, from a UK airport, when my visa had an error and boarding was denied. Next day found Vyke and the calls would have been less than £3.

    • Nick says:

      Why aren’t you using the 0345 number? Included in all phone contracts nowadays. You’re a fool who deserves to be charged if you still try the 0845 one.
      From overseas, use Skype at 5ppm.

      • RussellH says:

        BA should not even be quoting an 0845 number for any customer service purpose. Must be at least 18 months since that became law.

        **Anytime** you see an 0845 / 0870 / 0871 number quoted, try dialing by starting with a ‘3’ instead of the ‘8’.

    • scottydogg says:

      I just phoned the number off the website , the 0845 number i think ion my mobile and got a massive bill.
      Took the advice from here and phoned through skype , had never done that before and worked really well . I feel like ive moved into the future today lol

    • Charlieface says:

      01914907901 but you need to block your caller id (prefix 141 on landlines)

  • Daniel says:

    OT – What is the best strategy for collecting after reaching the £10k trigger for the BAPP? I’m currently around 5 months into the collection year but only have £3k left to hit the companion voucher target so should hit it pretty soon.

    Trying to assessing what my options are from a points maximisation point of view, I have the BAPP, Amex Plat and Virgin Atlantic Rewards (free) to soak up any MasterCard spend. Whilst I do fly almost exclusively on BA bar the odd trip on easyJet, I do value the flexibility of MR points?

    Should I re-direct on-going spend onto the Amex Platinum after hitting the BAPP target?

    • Doug M says:

      Get an Amex Gold which is free in the first year. Same 1MR per £ as Plat but double on airline spend or non GBP if you have business expenses, non GBP for your own spend makes no sense on a 3% fee basis. Also if you can hit £15K spend on the Gold you’ll get a 10K MR bonus at the start of year 2 which does meaning paying one months fee before you cancel it.

    • Doug M says:

      Also, since you want a 241 I’m assuming a partner? If so refer them for Gold instead of you, and become a supp on that card. Assuming partner is supp on the Plat for small bonus?

  • Roger says:

    OT but BA AMEX offer of 1000 Avios on £100 spend.

    Does it apply to cumulative spend or in a single transaction?

    • Graham Walsh says:

      It is usually cumulative.

    • Nick says:

      How many times does this have to be answered here before people will listen?!

      Look at your Amex statement. They process airline transactions at a ticket level. This means that taking you, your wife, mistresss, kids and a dog would require 6 tickets. Hence 6 lines your statement. Therefore this offer HAS to be cumulative, purely through Amex’s standard processes.

      • the_real_a says:

        It would be more helpful if AMEX simply update their T&C`s so we dont have to guess…

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Slightly OT Avios question. Looking to upgrade a flight next week to Club Europe so it can tip me over to Gold. I get all the way through after the payment screen (Amex gets a pending transaction) to a Sorry, we have been unable to complete your transaction at this time. Tried on 3 different browsers. Frustrating

    Would calling up help or will they be as useless as their IT?

    • Stu N says:

      You’ll need to phone – the telephone team can do way more than you can do online. Highlight that you have tried online and it’s failed so they waive the phone service fee.

    • Nick says:

      This typically means the POU has gone and the website hasn’t kept up… in which case phone agents won’t be able to access it either. But it might be different I guess, so worth trying.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Thanks both. I’ll listen to some dire on hold music.

        • Stu N says:

          I have had a phone agent honour the POUG price despite being no longer being available… Wouldn’t rely on that though.

    • Rob says:


      • Graham Walsh says:

        Done and resolved, Same price as online

        • Stu N says:

          Good outcome.

          Definitely keep email confirmations and boarding passes for this one – there’s a fair chance it won’t post correctly from my experience – you’ll need to phone again to get this sorted.

          • Graham Walsh says:

            Yep indeed. I’ve just gone LHR>JFK return on AA in Premium and its posted as Economy. 20 TP less each way. Agent was trying to tell me AA doesn’t have premium. So thankfully uploaded proof of itinery and boarding pass, so it should get corrected.

  • Marek says:

    When I called GGL to book a gold priority reward, got quoted 40k avios + £35 where I expected to pay 30k avios + £35. Agent was confused, but agreed 40k price was incorrect, had to obtain supervisor’s approval and it got done at 30k avios + £35.

    I think this is a consequence of how BA implemented tax for avios trick – instead of doing it the right way, they’ve lowered the RFS fee to £0.50 per segment, then adjusted avios pricing. Simple solution, but someone hasn’t thought of consequences. Good side effect is now it costs £0.50 per segment to cancel the ticket on-line… but if taxes are lower then RFS fee (£17.50) then, regular flyers are penalised and have no option to pay original taxes. Check MAD-LHR avios pricing – taxes are £12.94 for Club ticket, yet BA will quote 20k avios + £0.50 or 15k avios + £25.50, where in the past it would be 15k avios + £12.94 only.

    • Lady London says:

      This is very interesting @Marek. As in your example of the true tax figure for flights departing Madrid, who would ever have thought British Airways would say £25 was taxes when actually only £12 of it was taxes? 🙂

  • aceman says:

    I had to do this a month or so ago, the agent on the phone couldnt do the old rate and had to send it off to ticketing to work it out.

    They then had to call me back becuase they couldnt get the cv2 number from the cc, and we started a merry game of phone tag, before a week later finally getting it ticketed.

    I told the agent on the phone that this idiotic policy would annoy a lot of people, and that they should give the original agent the ability to price things up according to the old price list since it would just create a lot of extra work for them.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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